Overnight Health Care — Presented by Coalition Against Surprise Medical Billing — Planned Parenthood charges into 2020 | PhRMA CEO warns against Pelosi drug pricing bill | Medicaid work requirements costing states millions

Overnight Health Care — Presented by Coalition Against Surprise Medical Billing — Planned Parenthood charges into 2020 | PhRMA CEO warns against Pelosi drug pricing bill | Medicaid work requirements costing states millions
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Welcome to Thursday's Overnight Health Care.

PhRMA is delivering a warning against Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiSpending deal clears obstacle in shutdown fight Ocasio-Cortez, Cruz trade jabs over COVID-19 relief: People 'going hungry as you tweet from' vacation Rep. Rick Allen tests positive for COVID-19 MORE's (D-Calif.) drug pricing bill, the death toll from the vaping disease has risen, Planned Parenthood is looking ahead to 2020 after some tough setbacks, and a new report shows Medicaid work requirements are expensive.

We'll start with Planned Parenthood:  



Planned Parenthood charges into 2020 after year of setbacks 

Planned Parenthood is charging into the 2020 elections after a challenging year that saw a slew of state-passed abortion bans and the loss of its president and millions of dollars in federal funding.

The organization's super PAC announced Wednesday it would spend $45 million to defeat President TrumpDonald John TrumpMinnesota certifies Biden victory Trump tells allies he plans to pardon Michael Flynn: report Republican John James concedes in Michigan Senate race MORE and flip the Senate in its "largest ever" electoral program, warning voters of a "coordinated attack" among Republicans to overturn Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court's landmark 1973 ruling that established the right to an abortion.

"I think this is a really unique moment for us as an organization," said Kelley Robinson, executive director of Planned Parenthood Votes. "The stakes are higher than ever, and we're coming out more powerful than ever with our largest investment ever made."

The financial commitment is a substantial increase from the $30 million Planned Parenthood committed to spending in the 2016 presidential election.

But the past year has raised questions about whether Planned Parenthood can enter 2020 with the same firepower it brought to the 2018 midterms, when it helped elect what Democrats describe as the first ever "pro-choice" majority in the House.


Why it matters: Planned Parenthood is a reliable mobilizer for Democrats. It plans to reach 5 million voters by Election Day and doesn't expect this year's trouble to stop them. 

Read more on the group's challenges – and plans – here


Related: The organization also endorsed its first slate of 2020 candidates. 

Planned Parenthood Action Fund unveiled nearly 90 endorsements in mostly battleground states, saying it is underscoring "red-to-pink" races where they think Democratic candidates can flip the seat, as well as "frontline" candidates who support abortion access and are vulnerable in the 2020 races.

The endorsees include Senate hopeful Mark Kelly, a Democrat running to unseat Sen. Martha McSallyMartha Elizabeth McSallyTrump nominee's long road to Fed may be dead end McSally, staff asked to break up maskless photo op inside Capitol McSally's final floor speech: 'I gave it my all, and I left it all on the field' MORE (R) in Arizona, and incumbent Sens. Gary PetersGary PetersRepublican John James concedes in Michigan Senate race Hillicon Valley: YouTube suspends OANN amid lawmaker pressure | Dems probe Facebook, Twitter over Georgia runoff | FCC reaffirms ZTE's national security risk Democrats urge YouTube to remove election misinformation, step up efforts ahead of Georgia runoff MORE (D-Mich.), Tina SmithTina Flint SmithSenate majority battle snags Biden Cabinet hopefuls Smith wins reelection in Minnesota Democrats expand Senate map, putting GOP on defense MORE (D-Minn.) and Jeanne ShaheenCynthia (Jeanne) Jeanne ShaheenTop Democrat calls Trump's Afghan drawdown 'the right policy decision' as others warn of 'mistake' Overnight Defense: How members of the Armed Services committees fared in Tuesday's elections | Military ballots among those uncounted in too-close-to-call presidential race | Ninth US service member killed by COVID-19 Biden wins New Hampshire MORE (D-N.H.). Planned Parenthood is also backing a mix of Democratic House incumbents and challengers in 25 different states.

Read more on the endorsements here.



PhRMA CEO warns Pelosi bill to lower drug prices would be 'devastating' for industry

It may not be a huge surprise... but PhRMA does not like Speaker Nancy Pelosi's drug pricing bill. 

PhRMA CEO Steve Ubl laid out his arguments against the measure in a briefing for reporters on Thursday. 

"If H.R. 3 becomes law, it is lights out for a lot of very small biotech companies that are pre-revenue and depend on attracting capital," Ubl said. 


PhRMA says reducing their profits is harmful because it reduces the incentive for investors to take a risk on new drugs in development. 

"If you do diminish the return element, or the profitability element of that, you take away the incentive for many investors to put money in here," said PhRMA COO Lori Reilly. 

Dem response: Democrats are perfectly happy to have the pharmaceutical industry as a foil, quickly tweeting out the attacks from the industry over a bill aimed at lowering their prices. 

"Who could have guessed that Pharma would hate a bill that stops them from gouging patients and lowers drug prices?" tweeted the group Protect Our Care. 

Read more here


Chairwoman Nita LoweyNita Sue LoweySpending deal clears obstacle in shutdown fight GSA offers to brief Congress next week on presidential transition Biden aide: First Cabinet picks will be announced Tuesday, GSA holdup preventing background checks MORE to retire  


Big news in the world of appropriations. 

House Appropriations Chairwoman Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.) will retire at the end of her 16th term in Congress.  

Lowey, the first woman to chair the Appropriations Committee, used her post to fight for medical research funding, women's health care issues and gun violence research at the CDC. 

The Coalition for Health Funding, an alliance of non-profit public health groups, praised Lowey's efforts.

"Nobody has worked harder to ensure robust investments in public health and other critical priorities on behalf of patients, physicians, health professionals, and all Americans," the group said in a statement. 

Rep. Rosa DeLauroRosa Luisa DeLauroOVERNIGHT ENERGY: House Democrats push Biden to pick Haaland as next Interior secretary | Trump administration proposal takes aim at bank pledges to avoid fossil fuel financing | Wasserman Schultz pitches climate plan in race to chair Appropriations Wasserman Schultz pitches climate plan in race to chair Appropriations DeLauro racks up labor endorsements for Appropriations gavel MORE (D-Conn.), chairwoman of the Appropriations Labor--HHS subcommittee, said Thursday she would run to chair the committee in the next Congress. 

Read more here.



Medicaid work requirements cost states millions

States are spending hundreds of millions of dollars implementing Medicaid work requirements, but the Trump administration doesn't require that information to be publicly disclosed, a federal watchdog report found.

According to the Government Accountability Office report, the first five states to gain approval for work requirements spent between $10 million to over $250 million in administrative costs. 

However, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services does not require states to provide projections of administrative costs when requesting approval of their work requirement demonstration. 

As a result, "the cost of administering demonstrations, including those with work requirements, is not transparent to the public or included in CMS's assessments of whether a demonstration is budget neutral," GAO found. 

Context: The report comes just one day before a federal appeals court will hear arguments about whether Kentucky and Arkansas can impose work requirements on beneficiaries in their states. Kentucky was the first state to win federal approval for work requirements, but a federal judge has twice struck them down. The same judge also blocked the Arkansas requirements from taking effect.

The cases are the first to reach an appeals court, and the verdicts could have far-reaching consequences. The Trump administration has made it a priority to approve work requirements, even in states that have not expanded Medicaid. Nine conservative states have been granted approval to date, and others are waiting. 

According to GAO, Kentucky's work requirements are estimated to cost $270 million to implement, while Arkansas would cost an estimated $26 million to implement. 


CDC confirms 26 deaths from vaping-related lung illness

Twenty-six people have died from the vaping-related illnesses that are sweeping the country, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced Thursday. 

The deaths were confirmed in 21 states, including three in California, two in Georgia and two in Kansas.

In all, 1,299 confirmed or probable lung injury cases related to vaping have been reported to the CDC so far, an increase of 219 cases from figures released last week. 

Of the 573 patients who provided information about what products they had used, 76 percent reported vaping THC, with or without nicotine-containing products. 

Read more here




What we're reading: 

Drug industry hired dozens of officials from the DEA as the agency tried to curb opioid abuse (The Washington Post

'We vape, we vote': How vaping crackdowns are politicizing vapers (Kaiser Health News)

Health officials urge caution in reducing opioids for pain patients (The New York Times

Amid vaping crisis, U.S. to issue new advice for doctors focused on lung infections (Reuters


State by state

ObamaCare in Arizona: More choice and stability expected for 2020 (Arizona Republic)

Parkland and Santa Fe schools disclose devastating after-effects of shootings (Politico)

Pennsylvania says changes to Medicaid will yield $85 million in savings (The Philadelphia Inquirer)